At the north end of the Sechelt Peninsula, Earls Cove marks the end of the southern section of Highway 101, the location of the ferry terminal for sailings to Saltery Bay, linking the Lower Sunshine Coast with the Upper Sunshine Coast of B.C.
The ferry trip across Jervis Inlet is a scenic 16-kilometre, 50-minute ride up Agamemnon Channel, around the northeast tip of sparsely populated Nelson Island into Jervis Inlet.
The ferry provides a spectacular view of the steep and rugged mountain slopes of the Coast Mountain range and the magnificent Sunshine Coast fjord country. The scenery is little changed from that which greeted Captain George Vancouver when he sailed Jervis Inlet and Agamemnon Channel in June 1792. Earls Cove is named after a Mr. Earl, one of the early pioneers in the area.
Location: Earls Cove is located at the northern end of the Sechelt Peninsula on the Sunshine Coast of BC. The Sunshine Coast is accessible from the Lower Mainland only by boat or airplane. Travellers aboard BC Ferries leave Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver for the 45-minute ride to Langdale on the Sechelt Peninsula. Highway 101 links Langdale with Earls Cove, 56 miles (90 Km) to the north. Earls Cove is also accessible from the north via the ferry terminal at Saltery Bay on the Malaspina Peninsula.
- BC Ferry: Vancouver – Horseshoe Bay Ferry Route.
- BC Ferry: Earls Cove/Saltery Bay/Sunshine Coast Ferry Route.
Nelson Island, east of Earls Cove across Agamemnon Channel, was once a busy place. A granite quarry opened on the island in 1887 and its stone was used to build the B.C. Legislature in Victoria and the library at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Jervis Inlet, just north of Earls Cove, leads inland from Malaspina Strait to a number of sounds and inlets, including Hotham Sound, Agamemnon Channel, Sechelt Inlet, Prince of Wales Reach, Princess Royal Reach, and into Queens Reach. Leading off Queens Reach is Princess Louisa Inlet, at the head of which is Princess Louisa Provincial Park and the stunning Chatterbox Falls. Trips to the falls are available out of nearby Egmont.
Fishing: Ruby Lake and Sakinaw Lake, located between Madeira Park and Earls Cove, are noted for trout fishing in season.
Canoeing & Kayaking: Between Madeira Park and Earls Cove, you can canoe or kayak Sakinaw Lake, and follow the portage route up to Ruby Lake. There’s lovely freshwater paddling on Ruby Lake, which most folks only get to admire from their vehicle as they pass by on their way to or from the Earls Cove ferry terminal.
Stop at the sandy swimming beach at Dan Bosch Regional Park on the eastern shore of Ruby Lake, 10 minutes south of the Earls Cove ferry terminal, where you’ll find just the place to picnic and swim. The park has 3 picnic tables, and a quarter-mile loop trail along the shoreline of Ruby Lake. If you need a boat, nearby Ruby Lake Resort rents them out.
Ruby Lake Lagoon provides a safe home to over 80 species of birds, including a growing abundance of North America’s most beautiful waterfowl, the Wood Duck. Other wildlife at Ruby Lake includes painted turtles, beavers, otters, Roosevelt elk, deer and bears. The Ruby Lake Lagoon Nature Reserve Society provides facilities for the casual bird watcher and family nature hikes, and supports activities ranging from scientific research studies to local school projects.
Recreation Sites: Just east of Earls Cove lies the Forest Service recreation site at Klein Lake, as well as North Lake and Waugh Lake close to Egmont. All three are beautifully clear, freshwater lakes with tiny little fish that will nibble your toes if you stand still. North and Waugh Lakes are situated beside Egmont Road, and access points are easily spotted. Klein Lake is reached after a short drive along well-marked North Lake Forest Road from Hwy 101 near Earls Cove. You can hike or bike down the trail from Klein Lake to Ruby Lake.
Hiking: The hiking trail between Ruby Lake and Klein Lake is also part of the Suncoaster Trail system. At 2.5 miles (4 km), the trail is not overly long but is quite steep as it climbs north between the two lakes. Park at Don Bosch Regional Park beside Hwy 101, just north of Ruby Lake Resort. The trailhead at Klein Lake begins near the south end of the lake opposite the Forest Service recreation site. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle you can drive to the Klein Lake trailhead; if you don’t you may have to add 0.6 mile (1 km) to the hike where the road around the lake grows impassable. To reach Klein Lake, follow Hwy 101 north to Egmont Road, then drive 1 mile (1.6 km) to the North Lake Forest Road. The rough road follows the shore of North Lake, then climbs towards Klein Lake. Use your discretion as to where to park and begin hiking. When you reach Klein Lake, take the left fork and follow the road as it leads around the lake, staying right at each subsequent fork until you reach the well-marked trailhead. Allow two to three hours to make the round trip.
Mountain Biking: One of the most ambitious mountain-bike trail projects, the 20-mile (33-km) Suncoaster Trail, opened in the mid-1990s. At present, it extends between Homesite Creek, near Halfmoon Bay, through the foothills of the Caren Range to Klein Lake near Earls Cove. Along the way, it passes abandoned rail lines, BC Hydro service roads, old-growth forests, and rocky promontories, and near its northern terminus has incredible views of Ruby and Sakinaw Lakes. Although mostly gravelled singletrack, the trail follows Hwy 101 for short distances where necessary. The shoulders on the highway have been broadened to comfortably accommodate cyclists in these places. Eventually, the trail will extend to Langdale. One of the most scenic spots is beside a waterfall where a 68-foot (21-m) bridge spans Sakinaw Creek.
Hardy Island Marine Provincial Park is a small Island in Blind Bay, located between the south shore of Hardy Island and the tiny Fox Island. The park is located directly south of Saltery Bay on the upper Sunshine Coast, and is only an island at high tide. Undeveloped Musket Island is the epitome of peace and tranquility, where wildlife like eagles and seals abound, the warm water encourages swimming, and wilderness campsites are provided for overnight campers. Musket Island is accessed by boat from Saltery Bay, Earls Cove and Egmont.
Spipiyus Provincial Park is documented as the oldest closed-canopy temperate rain forest in Canada. The park protects pockets of old-growth Douglas-fir stands, and contains groves of the oldest living Yellow Cedars, Mountain and Western Hemlocks in the world. Also known as the Caren Range, the 2,979-hectare Spipiyus park also protects prime habitat for the Marbled Murrelet, which was found breeding close to the many lakes and in the ancient forests of the Caren Range above Pender Harbour.
A small village on Secret Bay in Sechelt Inlet, Egmont is located 4.5 miles (7 km) east of the BC Ferries terminal at Earls Cove. Egmont is the trailhead for Skookumchuck Provincial Park, and features two modern marinas offering moorage and supplies for yachts and floatplanes. Boat Charters are available in Egmont, and guided tours can be arranged to the many natural attractions in the area, some of the best in British Columbia.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for the scenic Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle Tour. Board a B.C. Ferries vessel at Powell River that will take you across the waters of the Strait of Georgia to Comox, on Vancouver Island’s east coast. Travel south to Victoria and return to Vancouver by ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. Circle Tours in British Columbia.